Did you know?

Did you know? Waldorf schools never take political sides and do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, class, creed or sexual orientation. As such, Waldorf schools have built bridges in polarized communities in many places in the world. During the apartheid years, children of all races were able to attend Waldorf schools Read more

Did you know?

Waldorf schools never take political sides and do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, class, creed or sexual orientation. As such, Waldorf schools have built bridges in polarized communities in many places in the world.

  • During the apartheid years, children of all races were able to attend Waldorf schools in South Africa.

The path to the peaks of knowledge and the path to the heights of compassion
are one and the same.
– Rudolf Steiner

  • The first Waldorf kindergarten in a South African township was founded in July 1987 and later developed into a proper school. Today about 360 children and 20 teachers attend Inkanyezi Waldorf School and the Community Centre on London Road in Alexandra – a densely populated township on the edge of Sandton. Several times children, parents and teachers alike had to fight for their school to create and maintain a place of peace amidst violence and social unrest. There is a story about how gunfire between political factions would cease in order for children to come to school in the mornings. The gunfire would resume during school hours and cease again when then children had to leave at the end of the day. One can still see bullet holes in the walls of the school – a reminder of those difficult times. In 1992, the “Guardian” newspaper published a report: “A small star shines in the darkness of Alexandra” referring to the name Inkanyezi, which means “starlight”.
  • Lesedi Waldorf School is nestled amongst picturesque mountains north of the Waterberg area in Madietane, in the district of Polokwane, in Limpopo province. The school came into being in 1989 through the efforts of the first kindergarten teacher at Inkanyezi: Emily Moabelo. She had convinced the community that for R5 per month, this school will bring light / ‘lesedi’ to this remote mountain village.
    From humble beginnings under a Marula tree, Lesedi is now a boarding school and has celebrated its 21st birthday in 2010. The teachers are fully qualified and regularly take part in National Waldorf Teacher conferences. Grateful alumni celebrate their successes in life.

Waldorf education is committed to social renewal and transformation and actively seeks to cultivate a sense of social responsibility among their students.

  • Michael Mount Waldorf School has adopted both Inkanyesi and Lesedi as sister schools. Michael Mount parents, teachers and students have been actively involved in a cultural interchange and support programme with both these schools for decades.
    Students from Inkanyesi often attend plays, concerts, sporting and other events at Michael Mount. In exchange, they perform their plays and music to Michael Mounters.
    The Waldorf curriculum includes a community project for Class 10. For this project, the entire class spends a week in a community that is less fortunate than themselves. Lesedi is an invariable Class 10 project destination! During their time there, students do building maintenance and repairs, gardening, and interact with the community and the students.
    In June 2016, a tradition was started when families from Michael Mount travelled to Madietane in Polokwane for a ‘sleepover’ to celebrate St. John’s Festival at Lesedi. Thus bridges of dignified exchange are built as people from very different backgrounds and experiences get to meet and know each other.

If humanity is to live in the future in a socially right way,
humanity must educate its children in a socially right way.
– Rudolf Steiner

  • The Novalis Institute in Cape Town – a non-profit organization offering holistic adult education programmes that combine Steiner education principles with Ubuntu, the universal spiritual values embraced in African philosophy – was referenced during UNESCO’s Year of Tolerancein 1995, as an organization working towards reconciliation in South Africa.

Wherever love and compassion are active in life,
we can perceive the magic breath of the spirit blowing through the sense world.
– Rudolf Steiner

International examples of Waldorf education building bridges in polarised and disadvantaged communities:

  • The first Waldorf School in West Africa was founded in the Goderich village of Freetown, Sierra Leone in 2001, to educate boys and girls orphaned by the country’s ten-year long civil war.

To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being;
to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world
– Rudolf Steiner

  • An Arabic language multi-cultural Druze / Christian / Muslim Waldorf school has operated in Shefa-‘Amr – an Arab city in the North District of Israel – since 2003. The Harduf Kibbutz Waldorf School – also in the north of Israel – includes both Jewish and Arab faculty and students, and it runs an Arab-language Waldorf teacher training programme. A joint Arab-Jewish Waldorf kindergarten was founded in Hilf, near Haifa, in 2005.

Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied of opinions can be reconciled. Thus one of the most important tasks for humankind today and in the future, is that we should learn to live together and understand one another.
If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of development is empty.
– Rudolf Steiner

In Tolerance: The Threshold of Peace – A Teaching/Learning Guide for Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (UNESCO, 1994) Professor Betty Reardon cites Waldorf schools as an example of schools that follow a philosophy based on peace and tolerance.

  • The first Waldorf based kindergarten was inaugurated in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam in 2002. After two prolonged wars during the 20th century, Vietnam is one of the poorest countries in the world. Half the children at the kindergarten are from an orphanage and half from poor families. The education is essentially free of charge.

When human beings meet together seeking the spirit with unity of purpose
then they will also find their way to each other …
– Rudolf Steiner

  • The Tashi Waldorf School on the outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal teaches mainly disadvantaged children from a wide variety of ethnic and tribal backgrounds. It was founded in 1999 and is run by Nepalese staff. In the southwest Kathmandu Valley the Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation provides Waldorf education to underprivileged children from neighbouring villages, a leprosy colony at Khahare, as well as to the children of disabled and poor adults who work on the Foundation’s biodynamic farm.
  • The Thomas E. Mathews Community School in Yuba County, California is a Waldorf-inspired public school for twelve-to-eighteen year-olds who have been court ordered to attend. Some of the students have committed serious crimes and are hardened criminals despite their young age. Yuba County has one of the highest percentages of people sentenced to prison per capita in California, and the third highest crime rate in the nation. The school’s successes in working with at-risk students has received scholarly attention and was written about by Todd Oppenheimer in his book The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology.

A healthy social life is found only when in the mirror of each soul
the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community
the virtue of each one is living.
– Rudolf Steiner

  • The Trillium Deaf Programme in Sonoma, California, is a bilingual-bicultural Waldorf School, providing education to deaf and hard of hearing children (DHH), children of deaf adults (CODA) and siblings and friends of deaf children and the larger community.

It is no wonder then that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has partnered with Waldorf schools in numerous countries where such partnership would help promote peace and stability. In Africa, UNESCO has partnered with Waldorf schools in Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.
In 1994, UNESCO sponsored an exhibition about Waldorf schools at the 44th Session of their International Conference on Education in Geneva, and publicly stated that the Waldorf movement’s “ideals and ethical principles … correspond to those of UNESCO.”

The advent of the Waldorf Schools was in my opinion the greatest contribution
to world peace and understanding of the century.
– Willy Brandt, former Chancellor West Germany, 1971 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate